The conversation with this group is amazing and insightful. I am continually awed at the power of circles, of listening with intentionality, and with no desire to fix or save, no setting each other straight, no advising. It's not easy to do - we are good people and we want to help. But the power that comes from being heard in a sacred and safe space - that is more important.
I haven't written much lately. I've been wrestling with a bunch of things. Surgery on my wrist last week, frustrating situations in my personal life, and feeling hurt by actions beyond my control that affect my children's relationships and wellbeing. I have found it easier to retreat into silence, here and elsewhere.
Recognizing others' inherent worth and dignity is not always an easy thing, and being in right relation with people who seem intent on doing hurtful things is definitely not easy. The balance between setting appropriate boundaries and having clear and positive communications is one I can't see my way through yet this week. That said, there is a time for advice, and I'm working on getting some, from a variety of sources, which will help me to move forward in accordance with my values I hope.
There is a balance between doing what is right and necessary, and doing that which is retributive - especially when others are pursuing an agenda of retaliation. It's hard to take the high road all the time, especially as I move into later stages of formation and discernment, and the ethical stakes are raised. It's a huge responsibility. It seems that the words I've swallowed so many times have become lodged in my throat and are causing actual physical symptoms.
Again, Wellspring encourages me to continue daily prayer and spiritual practice, to meet with a spiritual advisor, and to keep asking what my faith leads me to do in my life. These are good paths, and I feel blessed to be in good company.
One way I'm practicing ministry these days is through the Church of the Larger Fellowship's Prison Letter Writing Ministry. I have been paired with a young man out west, who is in prison for a long time. We have exchanged one letter each, and I find him fascinating. It's a good way to understand more about oppression and cultural systems of legality, of family, of society. And I hope it will teach me more about being open to the inherent worth and dignity of every person, in every person that I come into relationship with.